Inner Harbor Café Blue makes others feel green with envy
By Christopher Malone
It’s great to see a new business open up. It’s even better when the place makes its patrons feel welcomed, excited to have ordered something and happy to have enjoyed the experience.
Café Blue at the Iron Pier, adjacent to Syracuse’s Inner Harbor, is one of those places.
In its premier year, this breakfast and lunch eatery is making statements in more ways than one — literally, too. When you order a cup of coffee, you’ll get a warming affirmation handwritten on the side of the cup.
It’s better than a piece of paper from a fortune cookie.
The cool little Café Blue has plenty of outdoor and indoor seating in its pristine location. Menus are available to grab from the basket on your right-hand side upon entering. Before you get a chance to glance at the food, the display of baked goods and treats will offer a significant distraction.
I implore you to take a gander and give in. As they say — eat dessert first.
Although a variety of treats ($10 and change) were the last thing ordered and enjoyed, the peanut butter cookies, macaroons, and chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake won my attention.
The cookies were soft and practically fell apart easily, clearly knowing they were going to get eaten. The macaroons, little teal sandwich cookies, proved difficult to savor. And the cheesecake was heavenly and creamy.
To go with the meal, I ordered a banana-honey-ginger smoothie ($7.50) and a small Earl Grey tea ($3). Earl Grey is my favorite and the fresh loose-leaf tea made the flavor more explosive than the typical bagged store-bought tea.
The smoothie, which is made with whole milk and yogurt, boasted a lot of flavor, which started with banana and finished with ginger. Yes, the smoothie actually finished with a particular flavor. The honey was subtle and resonated with each refreshing sip.
Everything served at Blue Café is on the healthier side. Breakfast notable egg bowl ($10) is a great example. On a bed of spinach, an over-easy egg is joined by sweet potato tater tots, a scoop of salsa and topped off with a light sour cream drizzle.
After breaking the egg and tossing everything together, what you have is a tasty breakfast salad.
It’s impossible to say everything was “cooked” well — but at least they didn’t mess up the egg — because the components are what they are. But the flavor is up there and it was enough, especially to kickstart the day.
The savory avo toast ($8) is an avocado toast with slices of cherry tomatoes, greens and red pepper flakes. The flakes weren’t prominent, so no need to fear the heat. Plus, the avocado and veggies were noticeably fresh.
For those who like to kick it up a notch, Café Blue has a table where silverware, napkins, coffee drink necessities and hot sauce is available for those wanting to spice up their meal a little bit.
This is also a good spot to mention the ordering process. After ordering your meal at the register, staff will call your name when the food is ready to be picked up.
The chicken and fig panini ($12), which comes with a side salad with fresh greens and chickpeas, doesn’t lack flavor. The chicken thighs are joined, of course, by fig jam and other components like caramelized onions, slices of apple and maple aioli. It’s a sandwich embracing late summer and early fall for a comforting, savory option.
The meal before tip came to $40 and change.
There’s honestly nothing I dislike about Café Blue. It adds to the Syracuse area in a positive way with another casual, café-style option for those looking to relax or grab takeaway from.
720 Van Rensselaer St, Syracuse, NY 13204
Sunday: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Tuesday – Friday: 6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.